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Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12-Team, 10th Pick (2022)

by Chad Workman
Apr 23, 2022


 
Perhaps the most crucial part of your fantasy football draft comes well before the first pick is made. After all, as the ancient Stoic philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The quote has since been regurgitated and attributed to many, with “success” replacing “luck.” It remains as true as ever; preparation is wildly important to our success and luck.

After his fight with Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, a more recent philosopher boxer, had a slightly different opinion, stating, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Although less eloquently said than our friend Seneca, this is also very true.

You might be wondering how this applies to fantasy football, or if you’re a step ahead, you might be wondering how we balance the two thoughts that seemingly oppose one another. First and foremost, with all the advanced data and content surrounding fantasy football, being prepared has never been more critical. Besides reading my mock drafts, one of the best ways to prepare is to do your own mock here at FantasyPros.

Adaptability is equally essential. I don’t have to tell you to familiarize yourself with the league settings and consider how that will affect player values. Still, the only guarantee in a fantasy football draft is that there will be surprises. Go into the draft with a strategy, such as zero RB, but don’t be afraid to adapt and take advantage of other managers’ mistakes.

Coincidentally, my mock draft happens to be an example of the process mentioned above. I wanted to provide a perspective from a later pick in the draft after the consensus top players are off the board. Still, I was hoping to grab an RB I liked enough to implement an anchor RB strategy where you draft an RB in the first round to carry that group and stock up on other positions until the mid to late rounds. With the way the board fell and what I wanted to accomplish in the next few rounds, I adjusted. Read on to see how it played out.

The lineup for this 12-team draft is 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K, and 6 bench spots, and was conducted using FantasyPros’ Draft Simulator.

It’s worth noting that I intentionally passed on rookies as the simulator’s values are based on our expert consensus rankings. Some experts have the rookies ranked, while others do not, making it unfair for me to draft rookies before the simulator finds them.

Round 1, Pick 10: Javonte Williams

Other notable players available: Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Alvin Kamara

Before the 2021 NFL Draft, I had Javonte Williams as my RB1 and said that I had never felt more confident in a prospect hitting in the NFL. After the NFL Draft, I said he would be an RB1 in his second season. It doesn’t sound like a hot take with where we sit now, but it was bold at the time. Regardless, I’m no lower on him today and may even be higher. Although Melvin Gordon remains a free agent, it’s unlikely he gets a reunion in Denver unless he takes a significant salary reduction and accepts a much smaller role.

Williams was highly efficient as a rookie, creating the seventh most yards per touch from an RB with 3.42. His success wasn’t limited to rushing either; Williams finished 17th among RBs in targets (53) and yards per route run (1.45) in a part-time role. In addition, PFF graded his pass blocking out at 73 or better in all but three contests.

This offense will improve dramatically under Russell Wilson, but he’s going to love his new RB1 in the process. You should too.

Round 2, Pick 15: Leonard Fournette

Other notable players available: Ja’Marr Chase, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, D’Andre Swift, Antonio Gibson

I was able to snag my anchor RB in the first round with the benefit of many top-tier WRs still available at pick 15. That’s one perspective, at least. The other side of the coin says that Leonard Fournette is valued at pick 15 while playing an every-down role with Tom Brady in Tampa. With just two WRs taken to this point, I felt comfortable with the WR’s I projected to be available at my third pick. At the rate they were flying off the board, I wasn’t as comfortable with the RBs I might be able to acquire later in the draft, but this pick is more about my belief in Fournette than anything else.

It’s easy to forget that Fournette is just 27 years old with 943 carries. Although he was an early first-round pick, the perception of his abilities took a tumble after being cut by the Jags and initially playing a complementary role with the Bucs. If his RB6 finish in PPR scoring last season hasn’t changed your perception, perhaps his $21 million contract and the exit of Ronald Jones will help. With the return of TB12 and a projected three-down role, there’s no reason to believe Fournette won’t finish as an RB1 again in 2022.

Round 3, Pick 34: D.K. Metcalf

Other notable players available: George Kittle, Diontae Johnson, Chris Godwin, Tee Higgins

I knew I needed to grab my WR1 here, and I waffled a bit between D.K. Metcalf, Chris Godwin, and Tee Higgins. Although I like Godwin an awful lot, we haven’t heard much about his recovery this early in the offseason, but we should have a better idea as drafts ramp up closer to the season. I was tempted by Tee Higgins here but thought there was a better chance of him being available with my next pick than Metcalf.

Admittedly, I wasn’t as high on Metcalf immediately after the Seahawks sent Russell Wilson to Denver. But upon further review, I believe Metcalf’s talent will win out. After all, he was WR8 across three games with Geno Smith under center last season, and we all know that Russ struggled through his injury upon his return. Metcalf still finished the season as WR14 in PPR scoring and WR10 in standard scoring. Drew Lock isn’t afraid to put the ball in the air and let his playmakers do what they do best, but it’s still possible the Seahawks upgrade the position room. I’d feel better with Metcalf as my WR2, but any potential concerns are alleviated by having two RB1s and an opportunity to grab another WR in five picks.

Round 4, Pick 39: Tee Higgins

Other notable players available: Mike Evans, DJ Moore, Darren Waller, David Montgomery

Securing Tee Higgins as the 17th WR off the board is a huge win here. In a vacuum, I prefer Higgins over Metcalf, whom I selected in the third round. I opted for Metcalf with that pick, in part, due to my belief that Higgins was more likely of the two to be available at pick 39. In addition, Metcalf has a better chance of seeing a bump in value throughout the offseason. If the season were nearing, I would have drafted Higgins first. However, it’s still possible the Seahawks upgrade the QB room or even trade Metcalf into a better situation. On the other hand, Higgins won’t see his value fluctuate similarly.

But why is Higgins available with the 39th selection, one pick after Jerry Jeudy was drafted? Narrative, mainly. Somebody like Jeudy could potentially earn the role as his team’s WR1, while Higgins will always be viewed as a secondary option to Ja’Marr Chase. However, the dangerous thing about a narrative is that it doesn’t tell the whole story. The reality is that the Bengals threw the ball 726 times last season, the sixth-most in the league, providing ample opportunities to go around.

It’s indisputable that Chase established himself as one of the best young wide receivers in the league, but it is disputable that the Bengals view Higgins as their number two WR. I’m not necessarily arguing that he’s the team’s top option, but it’s more of a 1A/1B situation. Higgins out-targeted Chase on a per-game basis, 7.86 to 7.53, and played the more traditional number one role of the X receiver. Chase, meanwhile, was relied on as more of a downfield playmaker, evidenced by his 30 deep targets compared to 17 for Higgins. It should be no surprise then that Higgins finished the season as WR12 in PPR scoring among WRs who played more than seven games. This is a lengthy way of saying that a “WR2” in a high-octane offense can carry more value than another team’s “WR1.”

Round 5, Pick 58: J.K. Dobbins

Other notable players available: DeVonta Smith, Tyler Lockett, Patrick Mahomes, AJ Dillon

While I considered DeVonta Smith with this pick, the RB landscape finds itself on a much steeper cliff than the WR landscape. Although J.K. Dobbins doesn’t lack question marks, the same can be said of upside. He’s coming off a torn ACL and has competition in his backfield, but we’ve seen players resoundingly recover from this injury. His backfield mate Gus Edwards is recovering from the same injury and slightly behind Dobbins’ timeline.

The narrative suggests that Dobbins’ ceiling is limited playing next to a rushing QB. You already know the dangers of narratives if you’re paying attention. A Lamar Jackson-led offense is so highly efficient on the ground that even if he takes a few goal-line carries here and there, the opportunities remain aplenty for Dobbins. A running QB of Jackson’s caliber is enough to keep defenses guessing and off-balance, opening running lanes for Dobbins. With all these concerns baked into his cost, I’d consider the RB22 price tag a discount, even more so when you think that the corpse of Devonta Freeman waltzed into an RB31 finish last season while splitting work in this offense, which was without Jackson for six games.

Round 6, Pick 63: Mike Williams

Other notable players available: A.J. Dillon, Lamar Jackson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Miles Sanders

Similar to Tee Higgins’ status in Cincinnati, Mike Williams is more of a WR1B in LA than a WR2. Keenan Allen can be a bit of a target hog, but that didn’t stop Williams from notching 129 targets last season. After all, the Chargers were one of eight teams to throw the ball over 700 times, while their 63% pass rate tied for second-highest. A pass-first team’s perceived WR2 can carry more value than another team’s WR1.

Williams saw double-digit targets four times last season, notching seven or more on eight separate occasions. He also tallied 80 or more yards on seven occasions and was the league’s WR2 through the first five weeks, sitting just two points behind Cooper Kupp. The problem is, was, and always has been consistent with big Mike. I’d like to see him gain more consistency as he enters year two in his most friendly offensive scheme, but as my WR3 on this team, I can live with some boom or bust weeks.

Round 7, Pick 82: Kadarius Toney

Other notable players available: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tony Pollard, Chase Claypool, Christian Kirk

The available WR pool was thinning out quickly at this point in the draft, but there were a few names on the board that I still really like. With just three of them on my roster, it was the perfect time to nab one of the remaining few I have high hopes for. I had considered jumping at Russell Wilson if he made it to this pick, but he was selected with the 79th pick, and I generally tend to wait out QB in single QB leagues. As the teams in need of a starting QB dwindle, my comfort level in predicting how the board will play out at the position grows.

Chase Claypool offers a rare combination of size and speed, lining up well with my type of receiver, but we didn’t see a big leap forward last season as many anticipated. Claypool thrives on the deep ball, so analysts can argue that Big Ben’s right noodle was holding the second-year WR back, but he still saw 21 deep targets, good for 20th most at WR. I like the acquisition of Mitch Trubisky for the Steelers, but we can’t be sure he will provide an upgrade in that department. After all, Trubisky’s ADOT has ranked 22nd or lower in all but one season, the only time he cleared 9 yards. We will need a spike in ADOT from the QB for Claypool to maximize his value.

It’s not that Kadarius Toney is in line for stellar QB play either, but he’s not so reliant on the deep ball after posting an ADOT of 6.3 last season with four deep targets. And while we would like to see more deep targets for chunk plays, his advanced metrics show signs of someone primed for a breakout. His 28.9% targets per route run were seventh-best at the WR position, while his 19.1% targets per snap were sixth-best. His 66.7% juke rate led all WRs, but his 17th best yards per route run was also solid at 2.13.

You can read more of my thoughts on Toney here, most of which apply to both dynasty and redraft. I’m excited to see what new Head Coach Brian Daboll can do with this kid.

Round 8, Pick 87: Dalton Schultz

Other notable players available: Dallas Goedert, Rashod Bateman, Travis Etienne Jr.

There are many different theories and strategies about the best way to approach TE, one of which is a belief that you’re better off waiting until the late rounds if you don’t get one of the elite players. I used to be a proponent of that, for the most part, and believe me when I tell you nobody loves throwing darts at late-round tight ends more than I do. But I believe that Dalton Schultz and Dallas Goedert are closer to the elite group than the late-round tier. I’m also a fan of T.J. Hockenson, but he doesn’t deserve to be off the board two and a half rounds earlier than Schultz and Goedert.

Because I believe they are closer to the top tier and undervalued in this range, I was targeting one of Schultz or Goedert and would have been content with either one. Goedert is generally valued a bit higher than Schultz, and I understand why, but I prefer Schultz in redraft leagues this season. Both players are coming off their best season in the NFL, with Goedert edging Schultz out in yardage, 830 to 803. However, the Cowboys’ tight end doubled up on touchdowns compared to his Eagles counterpart, eight to four. In addition, Schultz reeled in 78 of 104 targets while Goedert caught 56 of his 76 looks. Sure, the latter was more efficient in his efforts, but the discrepancy in touchdowns and targets highlights my preference for Schultz. Touchdowns aren’t particularly sticky, but the Eagles are a run-first team and utilize Jalen Hurts near the goal line. The Cowboys are more friendly to the passing game and let go of Amari Cooper. Not only that, Michael Gallup may not be ready for the start of the season, and they let go of their number two tight end, Blake Jarwin. Regardless of which player you prefer, they are my favorite tight-end values as things stand today.

Round 9, Pick 106: Jalen Hurts

Other notable players available: Marques Valdez-Scantling, J.D. McKissic, Ronald Jones, Tyler Boyd, D.J. Chark

Although Jalen Hurts was a target of mine well ahead of this pick, I don’t put as much emphasis on stacking him with somebody like Dallas Goedert when so much of his value comes on the ground. Hurts was my target last season, which paid off as the Konami code QB raced his way to a QB9 finish. I was able to snag him here as the 10th QB off the board, which seems about right until you realize that Hurts missed two contests last season and was the QB6 in points per game.

Through his first two NFL starts, Hurts became the first QB in 70 years to have 500 or more passing yards and 150 or more rushing yards in those games, and he hasn’t slowed down since. Hurts later became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 passing yards and 800 rushing yards in his first five starts and then recorded the third-most total yards through eight starts with 2,584. He’s now tallied 4,063 passing yards, 1,055 rushing yards, and 35 total touchdowns across his first 19 starts. Lamar Jackson’s first 19 starts produced 3,646 passing yards, 1,533 rushing yards, and 41 total touchdowns for comparison. I’m not stating one player’s case against the other, but it’s noteworthy as Jackson is the player most often compared to Hurts, yet Jackson is valued so much higher. The narrative, however, is much tougher on Hurts, and I’ll spare you the reminder on what narratives can do, but you get the point.

Round 10, Pick 111: Ronald Jones II

Other notable players available: Will Fuller, Tyler Boyd, D.J. Chark, Darrell Henderson Jr./strong>

Now that I’ve got an entire starting lineup in place and then some, I’m looking to add depth and high upside bench players. It’s essential to balance your bench between high upside players and others with a safer floor. Because running back is scarce later in the draft, I’d prefer to find one here over other positions, but most importantly, I’m looking to add my guys regardless of position. With some quality depth already in place, I’m looking to find players with a high ceiling. For example, Tyler Boyd is a quality depth option because we know he’s locked into the slot/WR3 role in a high-volume passing attack. Still, he’s also very clearly behind Chase and Higgins in the pecking order, with little room to elevate his value. Even if Chase or Higgins miss time, Boyd is solidified into his role in the slot.

On the flip side, a player like Will Fuller could see his value shoot up immensely if he lands in a favorable situation, although we know he’s tied to injury concerns. It’s tough to count on him as a reliable option due to the injury history and uncertainty surrounding his future team, but his upside could tilt the odds in your favor if things click for him. He was tempting at this spot for all those reasons, but I couldn’t pass up the Chiefs’ new RB, who will have the opportunity to steal touches in an elite offense. In Tampa, Ronald Jones was set up to fail, running behind a lackluster offensive line before eventually being relegated to a committee. Sandwiched in between, there were a couple of productive seasons, including an RB15 finish in 2020, his last season as the starter. With just 448 carries to his name, RoJo has plenty of tread on his tires and will get an opportunity to snipe the early-down role from Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has yet to live up to his first-round draft capital. His speed and ability to get to the second and third levels of defense will allow for big-play opportunities in an explosive offense, which CEH has failed to offer. Last season, the former first-round pick posted just three breakaway runs, resulting in a 2.5% breakaway run rate, the 46th best mark amongst RBs. As the 40th RB selected in this draft, I like RoJo’s chances to outperform that standing.

Round 11, Pick 130: Allen Lazard

Other notable players available: Mecole Hardman, Cole Beasley, Mike Gesicki

Everybody envisions the Packers drafting a WR next week, and they likely will. But as it stands now, Allen Lazard is the longest-tenured WR in Green Bay and the de facto WR1. The 6’5″ 227-pound receiver posted 513 yards and eight touchdowns on just 60 targets last season, playing behind Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, both of whom found new homes this offseason. The vacated targets perspective is often flawed, as many of those targets will go to new additions, but Green Bay has vacated 224 targets between Adams and MVS. Lazard’s 2.38 fantasy points per target last season was fifth-best among WRs and bodes well for his chances to surpass the value of this draft slot in an expanded role.

Round 12, Pick 135: Julio Jones

Other notable players available: Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson, Zach Ertz

Julio Jones’ value is obviously suppressed as he remains an NFL free agent, but he is just two years removed from a 1,400-yard season. At age 33, it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank, but I’m willing to take a chance on one of the best WRs of our generation this late in the draft. Plus, there are plenty of attractive landing spots left for Jones. He can sit back and weigh his options following the NFL draft and pick his team, knowing what the full WR room looks like.

Round 13, Pick 154: James White

Other notable players available: Myles Gaskin, Tim Patrick

It’s easy to forget that James White is two seasons removed from an RB18 finish. Injuries have derailed his availability as of late, but the Patriots still believe in him, evidenced by a brand-new contract. After 123 targets in 2018 and 95 in 2019, the arrival of Cam Newton put a dent in White’s fantasy production. Between the 2020 season with Newton and last season’s hip injury, fantasy managers have forgotten how good James White is at his role in the Patriots’ offense. At the very least, White can provide some usable weeks as a flex option, and at best, he can post RB2 numbers.

Round 14, Pick 159: New England Patriots DST

I recommend waiting until the last two rounds to take a DST and kicker. I can understand why you might jump at a defense earlier, but make sure you know their opening schedule before doing so. I like to make sure I grab a defense that has strong matchups early and a bye later in the season. We don’t have that information yet, so I’ll grab the Patriots, who were the second-highest scoring DST in fantasy football last season. They’ve lost some talent, but I trust Bill Belichick to keep his unit near the top.

Round 15, Pick 178: Evan McPherson

Kicker scoring is very difficult to predict, so I prefer to wait until the last round. With that being said, I’m happy to get a kicker in a high-scoring offense who became a rookie sensation during the Bengals’ Super Bowl run.

Summary

Lineup
QB: Jalen Hurts
RB: Javonte Williams
RB: Leonard Fournette
WR: D.K. Metcalf
WR: Tee Higgins
WR: Mike Williams
TE: Dalton Schultz
DST: New England Patriots
K: Evan McPherson

Bench
J.K. Dobbins RB
Kadarius Toney WR
Ronald Jones II RB
Allen Lazard WR
Julio Jones WR
James White RB

Overall, I’m pleased with how this draft played out. The grades on my specific picks are a matter of perspective, but more importantly, I put forth my strategy while adapting. I was able to grab plenty of my guys and implement a balanced approach between the high floor and high ceiling players.

A constant theme throughout this draft was finding players who I believe can smash their current value/ADP. Javonte Williams and Leonard Fournette each have a chance to be this season’s RB1 overall, while Dobbins and RoJo could each conceivably become fantasy starters. In addition, each of my top four WRs has a real WR1 upside. I’m not implying that we should bet on these outcomes, but this is how we end up with league winners on our roster.

Hopefully, this exercise has helped you understand the goals of drafting and how to approach a mock draft and provide some insight into my player values. Like anything else, preparation and repetition will keep you ahead of the curve, so get out there and start drafting. Happy mocking!

CTAs


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Chad Workman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Chad, follow him on Twitter at @tweetsbychad.

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